Just the Facts: February 2020

It’s time for another episode of Just the Facts, where we dig into what’s going on in the motorcycle industry. It’s oddly an episode not terribly conducive to photos, but I’ll include a few as I’m able.

Don’t forget to visit Dunlop Motorcycle Tires, our title sponsor! Send them a note & let them know you appreciate their support of the podcast.

Last year in Episode 52, I talked to Gary Ilminen about the 40% failure rate of DOT-certified helmets; turns out another year of testing hasn’t improved the situation and the failure rate is now 43%. If your helmet has a Snell or ECE certification, it is far less likely to have failed the Act Labs testing, however, so it’s time to apparently be wary of helmets sporting only the DOT certification.

If you remember Episode 18, in which I spoke with Court Butler of Butler maps, and Episode 12, featuring Paul Guillien from Touratech USA, then you’ve heard about the Backcountry Discovery Routes at least twice. Their newest set of map and documentary film is out, and it’s both the 2nd most technically challenging route (if you stick to the expert paths) and the 2nd route east of the Mississippi River. Check out either company’s website to find out more about the Northeast BDR and check out the teaser for the documentary right … here!

Getting into other aspects of the motorcycle industry, Comoto Holdings – the company which owns Cycle Gear and RevZilla – just bought J&P Cycles, a major player for aftermarket V-twin accessories and parts. The spat between Motorcycle Consumer News and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation is over – MCN’s parent, Lumina Media, ceased operations abruptly on 1 February. Listen in and then find a conspiracy theory discussion about it all online somewhere. A different magazine isn’t going anywhere, though, and indeed appears to be on the brink of a renaissance as it shifts from T&A to lifestyle-by-motorcycle: Easyriders. New owner Pepper Foster has some interesting ideas with what to do with the iconic brand.

Indian has closed its paint facility in Spearfish, South Dakota, shifting those operations 500 miles east to their main facility in Spirit Lake, Iowa.  If you’re a fan of MotoGP – and possibly even World Superbike – you’re in luck, because NBC Sports is taking over broadcast responsibilities. Here’s to seeing MotoGP races on NBC on prime weekend days!

Over in England, Norton is bankrupt again and mired in controversy (if you’re British, you pronounce that [con-TROV-ersie]), but Triumph is doing well and improving their rider apps with a partnership with What 3 Words, an innovative navigation technology about which Partnerships Director George Hall will tell us on the next discussion episode, due out on 2 March.

There’s just one bit of electric motorcycle news, but it’s a doozy. As teased in last month’s Just the Facts, Zero has released their SR/S, a true electric sport bike based on the SR/F platform. Base cost is just $500 more than a base model SR/F, and the fairing offers riders the opportunity to tuck in and add range thanks to the streamlined profile.

Please take some time to visit our sponsors – Dunlop Motorcycle Tires, mentioned (and linked) above, and the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America, without whom this podcast would not be possible. Thank you for listening to Chasing the Horizon, and we’ll see you out there somewhere on the road – or off it! Or in New Zealand or Australia in 2021!! Ride safe.